Most organisations and companies are organised into different departments with separate responsibilities. This is a necessity, as a workplace where everybody did as they pleased would involve everyone drinking all the coffee and nobody doing the work. That said, many departments have cross-over responsibilities with one another and the best organisations work with their different branches and departments working together in harmony rather than in opposition.
Actual department names and job titles may vary by company and organisations. However most have similar functions. These include:
Administration is the back-office or the business and the part that makes the decisions and keeps tabs on everything else. From recording staff attendance to hiring new employees, all the way up to boardroom strategy, the company administration is at the heart of it all. Depending on the scale of the organisation an Administrator may have the ear of the company director, or be the managing director themselves or be involved in the daily administrative grind of many offices.
Especially at the top end, administrators benefit from having leadership skills and management ability. However at all levels, an understanding of business processes is essential to ensure the smooth running of the organisation.
Good for: Organised types. People who like to Run Things
Finance Is the money side of the company and is responsible for the management of company assets, including cash and facilities as well as paying the bills. Smaller companies may only have finance as a smaller accounting department, purely responsible for keeping a record of company expenditures versus income, but larger organisations will have a finance department that is actively making decisions on behalf of a company.
Naturally, finance staff need to be numerate and ideally should have a background in accounting or bookkeeping so that they understand how the business finances work.
Good for: People who love numbers and spreadsheets
Marketing is about informing people that your product is there as well as informing them why they should buy into it. But it’s also about researching your intended market in order to change or develop products and services for them and the company. A fully functional marketing department might discover a demand for red sports cars, develop a plan to manufacture one based on clear market demands and then promote it via advertisements in appropriate media.
Marketers need to be either creative sorts, such as writers or graphic designers who can build excitement for a product, or analytic types who can gather and examine data to determine what it is people want. The best combine both disciplines.
Good For: People who like to influence other people and introduce meerkats to the national conciousness
Production and Manufacturing
Production and Manufacturing is short hand for deliverables, or the guts of your company, that makes whatever it is you sell. For a factory selling TV’s, clearly the TV is the product. However, this is just as valid say if your product is a service say in the case of a call centre for accident claims.
Naturally this is the most widespread aspect of any business and the hardest to pin down individual skills for. Nevertheless, this demonstrates the value of transferable skills to ease transition where necessary.
Good for: Hands on people who can follow directions.
The sales department generates the business and makes the money for the organisation. It is their job to persuade whoever the client is, be they public or private, to part with their money and buy into the company’s product or service.
Sales people need to be persuasive and thus benefit from training in techniques and basic psychology to help them read potential customers' moods and find solutions to fit their needs.
Good for: People who are comfortable talking and communicating their products.